Avengers Assemble: Robert Downey Jr.

Excitement has been building for The Avengers (which hits theatres on May 4, 2012) and I would like to say that there are none more eager to see it than me. To commemorate the gigantic blockbuster movie that is bound to set the new bar for superhero films, I’m going to be doing a weekly profile on the actors who will be filling (and have filled) the shoes of some of our favorite Marvel heroes… and villains.

PROFILE

Robert Downey Jr.’s career has been a bit of a roller coaster ride, but now he is considered to be one of the most respectable actors in Hollywood. In the three decades that he has been appearing in major motion pictures, he manages to stay new and fresh, finding the perfect balance between dramatic and blockbuster performances. While having appeared on stage and on Broadway, it was as James Spader’s sidekick in Tuff Turf (1985) and as one of the bullies in Weird Science (1985) where he got his big break. Since then, he has gone on to appear in over twenty movies (Only You, Soap Dish, Air America, Natural Born Killers… just to name a few), including Chaplin (1992), in which he was nominated for an Oscar. It was between 1996 – 2001 that he fell on hard times, having been arrested several times for drug possession and was unable to remain in treatment programs. During that time, he was placed on parole and when he failed to appear at one of his court-ordered drug tests, he was forced to spend four months in a county jail.

After a year in a substance abuse treatment facility, Downey emerged clean and ready to work, earning a role on the hit television series Ally McBeal only a week later. His role on the show got him a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. With such acclaim, it seemed like his life was turning around for the better, but in 2000, he was arrested again multiple times. It wasn’t until 2001 that he finally came to terms with his addiction and sought out help. His career was reset again with his appearance in Elton John’s video for “I Want Love” and from then on, he seemed to be on the road to recovery. In addition to the dozens of movies he has starred in since 2001 (A Scanner Darkly, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Zodiac), he has also released a CD.

In 2008, Downey was cast as Tony Stark in the first of the Iron Man films and since then his stocks in Hollywood have exploded. Taking on the role of one of Marvel’s greatest superheroes wasn’t enough for the New York native, he also accepted the challenge of playing the world’s greatest detective, Sherlock Holmes (2009, 2011). Some claim that there isn’t another actor who could balance the egomania and desire to do good that encapsulate his heroic character and he plays Stark so well, that the success of the first film led to a sequel (Iron Man 2, 2010) and now a third of the series is already in development.

Want to see more of what he’s capable? Below, I’ve included a couple of his films that I think everyone should see.

Oscar Nominated Film: Chaplin
Best Known For: Sherlock Holmes, Iron Man
Must Watch: Charlie Bartlett, Natural Born Killers

What’s Next? Iron Man 3

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